Karolina Shiino: Ukrainian-born Miss Japan gives up crown following affair


The coronation of a woman with European heritage sparked a public debate over beauty standards in Japan

Karolina Shiino.
Karolina Shiino.INSTAGRAM

Over the past few weeks, the name Karolina Shiino (26) has gained worldwide recognition. The reason? On January 22nd, 30 judges chose her as Miss Japan, based on three criteria: physical appearance, intelligence, and attitude. According to experts, Shiino was an "excellent representative of Japanese culture." However, part of the Japanese population opposed the decision. Karolina was born in Ukraine and does not have pronounced Asian features.

Official information states that Shiino arrived in Japan at the age of five and obtained nationality through naturalization four years ago. Nevertheless, her detractors do not see her as a typical Japanese. "What's Japanese about Miss Japan?" "She's not Japanese if her parents are Ukrainian and she was born in Ukraine," "These people don't understand what it truly means to be 'Japanese,'" were some of the comments on social media that hurt the young woman's feelings.

Despite this, Shiino decided not to relinquish her crown. She claimed she deserved the crown and would fight for the international title. However, this Monday (February 5) she decided to step away from the competition for a completely different reason than the discrimination she faced: a local media outlet revealed that Karolina had an affair with a married man, quickly raising questions about her values, integrity, and her ability to respect such an important institution as family in Japan.

A couple of days ago, an article from Shukan Bunshun reported that the model had "entered into a relationship with a doctor, who is also active on social media, and is married." Following the news, the Miss Japan organization summoned Karolina for questioning, and she swore that she had no idea the man was married. However, a couple of hours later, she admitted that she did know about the other woman.

After her confession, Shiino decided to acknowledge her mistakes and issued a statement apologizing to her fans. "I deeply regret the trouble I have caused. I also feel remorse for betraying those who supported me," she wrote on Instagram. She also justified her initial lies, claiming that she "was driven by fear, panic, and the potential consequences of her romance." But despite her sincerity and regret, Karolina does not have the sympathy of the country she aimed to represent.